Wednesday 16 December 2009

Both Ends Against The Middle

The Telegraph in doom-mongering mood.

Nearly a million drinkers were admitted to hospital last year as new figures show that alcohol-related illnesses have risen by nearly 50 per cent since 2004.

All well and good, but there was no mention of this annotation to the figures on which their report is based.

Some of the increase in figures for later years (particularly 2006-07 onwards) may be due to the improvement in the coverage of independent sector activity.

It's to be expected, really. Manufacturing scare stories while ignoring differences in data collection isn't a new story. The government has been whistling innocently, while looking the other way, as the MSM have been frothing about supply side increases since 2007, too.

Since 2007, the Office of National Statistics has assumed larger glasses are being used and stronger alcohol is being consumed. They now assume that a glass of wine contains 2 units, rather than 1, as it did before. With beer, what used be counted as 1 unit is now counted as 1.5, what used to be 1.5 units is now assumed to be 2 units and what used to be 2.3 units (a large can) is now counted as 3 units.

As you might expect, this has made a dramatic difference to the statistics.

It's quite easy to prove an 'epidemic' surrounding alcohol consumption if one blithely ignores changes in the way data is collected. Especially if both sides of the alcohol equation are adjusted favourably to the government's advantage at the same time.

Time to bring out this graph again, I suppose. You know, just so you can see the appalling increase in alcohol consumption by males and females since 2004 which has caused this carnage.

Terrifying, isn't it?


Unknown said...

Well, it's that time of year DP, all the unsubstantuated alcohol related scare stories abound this time of year.

Merry Christmas, sorry, Winterfest, to each and every one of the teetotaling non-smokers out there...NOT!

Junican said...

Only a few years ago, hospitals simply treated the injuries presented to them. The collection of information regarding the cause of the injury was a matter for the police, if there was some criminal involvement. The police kept the record of criminal actions.

We now seem to be in a situation where 'the reality' is not important. If a violent act occures, it does not matter whether the violent act is a punch up outside a pub or the battering of a little old lady to steal her pension money. From a police point of view, they are both the same. I exagerate, of course, or do I?

Bla, bla.....

Wormsnapper said...

Whilst this government remains in office consuming alcohol seems the only way to alleviate the pain.

Mark Wadsworth said...

The problem is that they trot out this stuff weekly, and as much as you or VGIF or I or any other bloggers or journalists or blokes down the pub point out that it's all lies, the constant drip drip is having an effect.

See also MMGW, house price rises are a good thing, the EU is good for us, passive smoking kills you, the government knows what it's doing etc etc.